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February 14, 2024 | Katelyn Keenehan

Angelique Adams inspires student entrepreneurs at Vol Court session

She discussed structuring a business model, marketing for new customers, imposter syndrome, and handling rejection in the startup space.

For the second week of this semester’s Vol Court, Dr. Angelique Adams, the Founder and Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of Angelique Adams Media Solutions, LLC, spoke to students at the University of Tennessee, Knoxville (UTK). She started her business in 2021 and has grown it exponentially over the past three years.

Vol Court is a four-week speaker series organized by the Anderson Center for Entrepreneurship and Innovation in the Haslam College of Business. It concludes with a 90-second pitch competition, which will be on Tuesday, February 27 from 5:30- 6:30 p.m.

Adams shared that her company is a service.

“People pay for the knowledge in my brain,” she said.

However, it didn’t start that way. It all started with the publication of her first book, You’re More Than a Diversity Hire: Women in Stem. From there, organizations and businesses wanted Adams to speak about her book, and Adams hatched the idea that she could build a business model around her lessons.

Today, Angelique Adams Media Solutions, LLC is a leadership coaching and training consultancy, targeted toward scientists and engineers. She offers her books, speaking engagements, private coaching, and group coaching opportunities. However, the business slowly built one level at a time. She first had to do a bit of customer discovery.

“When starting a business, you need to first validate your idea. You need to see if people like it, and then see if they’re willing to buy it, then how much they are willing to buy it for,” Adams said.

After doing a bit of research, she found that her upper-level leadership skills as a woman in STEM set her apart from other leadership coaches. She fixed her target audience on engineers and Ph. D scientists, and her business started taking off.

Angelique Adams

Adams said there are four main lanes to promote your business.

  1. Post free content
  2. Warm outreach (they already know you)
  3. Cold outreach (they don’t know you at all)
  4. Run paid advertisements

She focuses most intently on the first three. Adams shared that she primarily uses LinkedIn to post free content and do cold outreach, it’s where she has found the most success.

“There are hundreds of ways to advertise. When something doesn’t work and you have an exhaustive list, you just go to the next one,” Adams said.

For the past two years, Adams has been extremely active on LinkedIn. She is noticeable in her networks as a thought leader and is always posting a tip, trick, or bit of information. However, she shared with students that even the most confident people online still likely struggle with imposter syndrome, doubt, and trolls.

“Imposter syndrome is really about not feeling like you are capable in certain contexts. The way to overcome that is to be very clear about what you can do, and what accomplishments you have,” she said.

Adams said she keeps a journal of things she has done, who she has helped, what she has accomplished, and what it meant to her. She said she reviews it regularly to remind herself of her qualifications.

“Every entrepreneur/leader is going to face pushback, and you have to be able to let it roll off your back,” she said. “You have to believe in what you’re doing and why you are doing it. Your passion has to be unshakable.”

The next session of Vol Court is on Tuesday, February 20 at 5:30 in room #202 of the Haslam College of Business. Cortney Piper will be the speaker of the next session. Find more information at this link.

 

 


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